It's always slightly bothered me that I hold my music taste in such high regard. I've been guilty of looking down on other bands because their music is “not real,” as so many lead singers have said. I remember watching a band at 2009's Warped Tour who had a pretty small crowd because 3OH!3 was playing at the same time. They thanked the crowd for watching by bashing the other band: “Thanks for listening to a real band.”
I've done the same thing. I'm guilty of putting down Brokencyde, Blood On The Dance Floor, Millionaires–you name it. I guess part of it is jealousy, which goes back to my original blog about the egos of musicians. I want to write music that I feel has substance and tells a good story (I can thank our lead singer Ben for that). When I hear some of the lyrics and songs these bands put out, it blows my mind to see that many fans singing along and blindly following a band.
To be quite honest, I love pop music. I can listen to a 3OH!3 song and enjoy myself. I don't care who wrote the song or what instruments are in it. It's catchy and I can hum along to it. What's wrong with that? I explain it to myself like this: I can get into a pop act that uses melodies to hook in an audience. When an act tries to gain a fanbase solely by writing provocative, juvenile lyrics, I get turned off.
This leads me to my story. Last summer, the Venetia Fair was lucky enough to play the east coast dates of Warped Tour. We played a pretty small stage and were hustling every day to get people to watch our band. I'd say we did fairly well when I think about the other bands we were up against. We spent all the time before our set out in the crowd, trying to get people to come watch our band. I'd say most people that attend Warped Tour are pretty receptive because they like finding out about new music. I remember in high school, I would take pride in knowing about a band before they blew up. I'm sure a lot of these kids feel the same way.
This particular Warped Tour Date was either a NJ date or a NY date–I can't remember. All I know is that it was after the Long Island date. For those who don't know, after the Long Island stop, there is usually a big BBQ that goes pretty late into the night because of the short drive to the next city. This lead to a lot of alcohol consumption by my band (and most of the other bands). Needless to say, everyone was feeling pretty lousy the next morning. I slept under a semi-truck for an hour before the gates opened. It was especially hard to muster up the motivation to get up and promote my band, but I did it. It would have been a waste of my time if I did not.
When the band performing before us was on stage, we usually would go “backstage” and get ready. At this particular date, our “backstage” was just the metal barriers you see in lines to keep the lemmings in a row. They were lined up in a semicircle around the back of the stage. On the other side of those barriers was a walkway lined with band tents and clothing companies. While we were preparing for the set, those barriers separated us from fans in line for the Blood On The Dance Floor signing.
I ended up encouraging a bunch of those kids to swing by the front of our stage when they were done so they could check us out and most of them were receptive. Even if I could tell they weren't interested, at least they were polite about it and told me they would look us up online. This one particularly unpleasant toad, however, was not.
She was probably between 14 and 16 years old and had a face I imagine a rotten tomato would have. Just kind of snarky and unhappy with everything and she was with a few friends as well. I believe they were all wearing Blood On The Dance Floor merch, which said something disgusting and foul on it. I approached the group of girls and after a bit of small talk asked them if they would come check out my band when the signing was over. The tomatop-toad snarled and replied with a flat “No.” I was honestly surprised. It's rare that a person act that cold, so I asked her why. She replied, and I quote these exact words: “Because I know you won't be as good as Blood On The Dance Floor.”
What the fuck? You're that closed minded? That's the only band you will listen to? You're telling me that your exact taste in music is all encompassed in Blood On The Dance Floor? Noone else has ever come close to giving you what you want?
I may have lost my temper on her a little bit, but encouragement from passer-bys and other band members backstage kept me going. It's not even that I was uset that she liked Blood On The Dance Floor so much, but it was that she was so close-minded that she had the audacity to blatantly insult myself and my band without knowing one thing about us, except that I had politely asked them to come watch our band.
I walked away satisfied at the time. Later on, I regretted even giving her a response. I felt stupid for arguing with someone so young about something so stupid. Not going to lie, though, it honestly felt good. I had been walking around with that frustration for a couple of weeks, and that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I've publicly vented about my frustration with bands like that before, so it's not like I was hiding it. I only felt bad for berating that girl in front of hundreds of people.